The worldwide spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus has left business paralyzed. Productivity numbers are dropping all around the world and workers are left immobilised in their homes. As a result, it comes as no surprise that remote working has seen a huge surge in popularity as employers are encouraging their workers to work from home to avoid potentially contracting or spreading the coronavirus.
This sudden rise of remote working has suddenly thrust CIOs onto the centre stage with perhaps their greatest career challenge: becoming caretakers of employee experience and enablers of business operations in a time of crisis.
Several CIOs have come out to share their business continuity plans amid this pandemic. Yousuf Khan, CIO of Automation Anywhere, believes that his highest priority is that of ensuring his company’s employees and their families are protected. He also stressed the importance of making the transition from working in an office environment to remote working as seamless as possible; all the while ensuring customers and partners still receive adequate support. Some of the major areas of importance emphasised by Khan include technology enablement, capacity management, culture, and security.
Khan also advises companies to ensure that employees have the necessary tools to collaborate, communicate, and work regardless of where it takes place.
“Our channels of communication for employees, customers and partners will always remain open and unrestricted. The proliferation of new video conferencing and cloud technologies means you can get work done from anywhere. Work becomes something you do, rather than somewhere you go,” he said.
For Anudeep Parhar, CIO of Entrust Datacard, information security and the prevention of ‘Shadow IT’ is a high priority on his list. With a high number of remote workers comes a high number of potential security risks as employees bring their work laptops or sensitive data home.
“Given that much of our global workforce is transitioning from in-office to remote work, I’m also working to ensure our network and resource infrastructure is equipped to handle this mass migration, so employees don’t experience any interruptions,” said Parhar.
Eric Adams, chief information security officer at Kyriba, said ensuring the continuity of operations is operationally effective after his CEO activated the company’s Business Continuity Plan to work remote is naturally top of mind.
He stressed that employees require access to all of their resources as usual from any office and must be working under secure VPN to ensure security. Normal operations such as antivirus updates, system monitoring, endpoint detection and response capabilities need to be active and functioning, Adams said. “Employees need to have access to IT while working remote and have the ability to contact them to remotely triage issues,” Adams said.
One of the priorities that all these CIOs seem to have in common is ensuring the wellbeing of employees and customers. They all agree that during this global pandemic and period of uncertainty, CIOs need to provide guidance to ensure business continuity with all IT projects, whether